Clifford's Tower Voices


The Clifford's Tower 'Voices' project was co-created by myself and a group of Masters students (Joelle Hall, Natalia Filippova and Milayla Miller) at the University of York as part of the 'Debates in Museums' course. The exhibition took place in the immersive cave room - the York 3Sixty - and utilised live actors and interactive technologies to create a personal and reflective space to explore Clifford's Tower through the voices of past and present people.

The project aimed to focus on presenting a space in which the personal narratives of people who lived and died at Clifford's Tower could be explored. The key objectives of the project were twofold: firstly to to highlight the diversity of experiences, stories, memories and perspectives which can be drawn from the past, allowing marginalised voices which might not otherwise be heard to share their experiences of the tower. Whilst the second is to provide a platform on which present day visitors - no matter what their background or experience - can connect with the past voices through an exploration of their own relationship to the site through the presentation of their own stories, experiences, memories and perspectives. Many people, past, present and future have different experiences of Clifford’s Tower. ‘Voices’ aimed to let these speak, to contextualise them, and to foster the sense of belonging and contributing to part of this extended and diverse history.

Though it is not possible to demonstrate the full scope of the project here (given the cave system is, well, fixed firmly in 'meat-space' at the University) I have endeavoured to provide a cross-section of materials that will give at least a little insight into how the experience panned out. A range of images have been presented, the video-format is viewable and thanks to the efforts of Tom Smith from the Collaborative Tools Project a mock up (lacking the actors and interactive tech) is availiable to preview.

Images and Tweets from the Exhibition

Demonstrating audience members standing in the 3Sixty, immersed in the 3D reconstruction.

Demonstrating one of the final scenes of the flythrough - being lifted up above the tower

Opening panorama - demonstrating the scope of the reconstruction

Demonstrating some of the voices and background that underpinned the exhibit.

Some of the quotes gathered through the interactive application - modern voices being superimposed across those of the past.

Some of the drawings gathered through the interactive application - demonstrating the diversity of interpretations of those who visit the site.

View the Experience - 2D Movie

Click here or on the image above to engage with 'Clifford's Tower: Voices' for yourself in 2D. Will open via google-drive in a new tab. Double click to open and start. It is important to note that this was meant to be viewed in a 3Sixty room - hence the extended aspect ratio. Also the screens with waveforms and spotlights were hosted by live-actors.

View the Experience - 3D Movie

Click here or on the image above to engage with 'Clifford's Tower: Voices' for yourself in 3D through Tom Smith's fantastic three.js implementation. Will open in a new tab. Should start automatically. It is neccesary to have a high speed internet connection and also to refresh the browser a number of times to ensure the audio and visual are in sync. At the exhibition live actors were employed to deliver monologues and duologes, hence the spotlights and waveforms - unfortunately these could not be implemented in this online version.

External Links

Tom Smith, from the 'Collaborative Tools Project' at the University of York wrote a brief blog-post about his work in porting the 'Clifford's Tower: Voices' experience into an online space. The post can be found HERE